Actualidad Spain

Limit on the Fee for Cash Withdrawal from ATMs

Royal Decree Law 11/2015, 2nd October

This Royal Decree establishes a new model for charging fees on cash withdrawals using credit or debit cards in ATMs.

 Goal of the Royal Decree Law

The decree aims to establish rights and obligations for providers and users of payment services, so that the services will be given under due conditions of competition, transparency and trusts between the parties.

It bans the charging of two sets of fees on ATM cash withdrawals. Previously, customers withdrawing cash at ATMS using their card had to pay a fee to the card issuer and an additional fee to the owner of the ATM.

With the new law, the owner of the ATM may no longer demand a fee from the user or pass on the charge to the user, but may demand a fee from the card issuer. This fee to the issuer may be passed on in full or in part to the customer, but never for more than the fee that the card issuer charges the ATM owner. No surcharge may be added on for any other item, except when cash withdrawals are made on credit, in which case the card issuer may apply an additional amount, which can never be more than what is applied for cash withdrawal on credit from its own ATMs.

The entity owning the ATM and the card issuer may reach agreements to establish the maximum amount. Where there is no such agreement, the fee determined by the ATM owner will be the same for all the entities within Spanish territory, and may be reviewed each year. Any agreement or decision on such matters must comply with the anti-trust regulations for free competition.

Both entities must notify the Bank of Spain on their fees for ATM cash withdrawals in the form and with the content and according to the deadlines established by the Bank.

Every year, the competition and markets supervisor, the CNMC, will submit a report to the Ministry of the Economy and Competitiveness regarding the credit institutions' agreements for determining the fee on cash withdrawals using cards .

 Commitment to Transparency

The law includes on transitional provision that establishes that financial institutions must adapt to the provisions of Law 16/2009, 13th November on payment systems, before 1st January 2016, with respect to users' right to information:

  • Before customers can withdraw cash on their debit account, and in order to receive their express consent, the ATM owner must inform them of the fee that the card issuer will charge on such withdrawal and the possibility that a fee may be passed on in full or in part by the card issuer.
  • When the cash withdrawal is on a credit account, the above information must also include the maximum additional amount that the issuer may apply.